Hip pain puts Kershaw's start on Sunday in doubt

Hip pain puts Kershaw's start on Sunday in doubt

Hip pain puts Kershaw's start on Sunday in doubt
LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw is questionable for Sunday's crucial series finale against the Cardinals because of continued pain in his right hip, manager Don Mattingly confirmed Friday.

Kershaw pitched Tuesday night in Arizona, a start delayed two days because of the hip inflammation that caused his late scratch Sunday in San Francisco. Against the D-backs, Kershaw was typically stingy, allowing only one unearned run on three hits over seven innings while drawing a 1-0 loss.

In the aftermath, his hip was inflamed enough that he scrubbed a scheduled Thursday bullpen session. On Friday, he tried to play catch with trainer Sue Falsone watching, but shut down after a couple tosses and retreated to the trainer's room. He missed batting practice for the starting pitchers and didn't shag in the outfield.

Last week, Kershaw threw his bullpen session on the Thursday off-day but alerted the club on Friday when he felt the pain. He received a cortisone shot on Saturday and said he felt well enough to pitch on Sunday, but management decided to give him two extra days.

"This is how he felt two days before and by game day he felt he could pitch -- we'll just have to see," said Mattingly.

The club has issued only a vague diagnosis of inflammation, although the recurrence of discomfort after the injection raises the chances of labrum issues. Teammate Jerry Hairston underwent arthroscopic surgery for torn hip labrum Monday.

Rookie Stephen Fife is the likely emergency starter if Kershaw is scratched again. Fife, recalled from Triple-A this week, made three starts for the Dodgers this season and is 0-1 with a 2.16 ERA.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.